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Lakers History: Kobe's 60-Point Career Finale
The greatest career finale in NBA history began with five straight missed shots.
It took six minutes for Kobe Bryant to finally get on the scoreboard, but he never stopped from that point on, ending his 20-year NBA tenure by treating his hometown fans to a legendary, 60-point performance in his final game.
With Bryant pouring in more points than any other player in the league that season, the Lakers rallied for a 101-96 victory over Utah.
The 37-year-old performed a feat of endurance, putting up an exhausting 50 shot attempts — more than any player in at least 33 years — and making 22 of them.
Bryant did most of his damage by slicing through the Jazz’s defense, but he also attacked with his jumper. He knocked down six 3-pointers (albeit on 21 attempts) and a handful of patented mid-range strikes.
The five-time NBA champion unleashed his entire arsenal in the fourth quarter, scoring 23 points in the final frame of his career.
At first, it appeared that even Bryant wouldn’t be enough to push the Lakers to victory, as they trailed by 10 with only 2:36 remaining. Yet he hit an even more explosive level from there.
The NBA’s third-leading scorer of all-time went on a one-man 13-0 run by hitting four straight shots, including a 19-foot jumper to seize the lead for good.
“Honestly, I can’t believe this actually happened, to be honest with you,” Bryant said. “This is kind of crazy to me, the last game at home. It’s hard for me to believe that it happened this way, it really is. I’m still in shock about it.”
The game’s pageantry was befitting a player of Bryant’s iconic status.
The numbers he wore during his career, 8 and 24, were emblazoned onto the court. Throughout the game, tributes ran from legends like LeBron James and celebrities like Jack Nicholson.
And while courtside was littered with famous faces like Jack Nicholson, Jay-Z and Kanye West, Bryant was most pleased by the presence of his daughters, Natalia and Gianna.
“The coolest thing is that my kids actually saw me play like I used to play,” Bryant said. “It was like, ‘Whoa, dad!’ I said, ‘Yeah, I used to do this pretty often.’
“They were like, ‘Really?’ I said, ‘Dude, YouTube it.’”
After the game ended, Bryant was met by a seemingly endless group of former teammates — from Shaquille O’Neal and Derek Fisher to Lamar Odom and Rick Fox.
He delivered a speech to the sold-out crowd, ending with a trademark “Mamba out.” And the man who dropped 60 left the hardwood for the final time in his career.
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